On September 10, the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of OSCE participating States, organized by OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) started its work in Warsaw, Poland. Representatives of OSCE participating States, OSCE institutions, and OSCE executive structures, representatives of inter-governmental organizations, legal professionals, representatives of civil society and researchers from 57 participating States took part in discussions.
There was tension during the discussions on the topic of “Fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, national human rights institutions and the role of civil society in the protection of human rights, freedom of movement”, On September 18. So, Harutyun Grigoryan, who introduced himself as head of the organization, named as “European Center for Artsakh”, attempted to present the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” as an independent country and urged to stop Azerbaijan’s recent demonstration of military power. This provocative speech by the separatist regime’s representative led to a sharp reaction from the Azerbaijani delegation. A member of the official delegation of Azerbaijan, Presidential Administration employee Gulsel Safarova, using the right of veto, cut Harutyun Grigorian’s speech and said that there is no country named “Artsakh” and that these territories are occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding region belonging to Azerbaijan. The objection of the Azerbaijani delegation was accepted by the OSCE moderator and the speech of the separatist regime representative was stopped.
Later, Deputy Head of Permanent Delegation of Armenia to the OSCE David Knyazyan spoke about freedom of movement in the South Caucasus and slandered the official Baku and Ankara. David Knyazyan claimed that Armenia is currently blockaded by Turkey and Azerbaijan. Pointing to the Turkish-Azerbaijani joint military exercises in Baku yesterday, the Armenian ambassador expressed his concern.
The main tension has been experienced later. Speaking after the Armenian ambassador, head of the Azerbaijan Institute for Democracy and Human Rights Dr. Ahmad Shahidov spoke on “Fundamental freedoms and national human rights organizations in the South Caucasus”. During the speech of Azerbaijani human rights defender, Armenian ambassador David Knyazyan used the veto right and has demanded Ahmad Shahidov’s speech to be prevented. Armenian diplomat claimed that unlike other human rights defenders, Ahmad Shahidov has been focusing his recent years’ speeches on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and has been criticizing Armenia in all OSCE meetings. The Armenian diplomat’s veto was not accepted as substantiated and the floor was again given to Ahmad Shahidov.
Human rights defender Ahmad Shahidov spoke about the OSCE principles and said that participation of representatives of the separatist regimes in international events is inadmissible and it is completely incompatible with the fundamental principles of the OSCE and the territorial integrity of the countries. Later, Ahmad Shahidov responded to the Armenian ambassador’s remarks and said that Azerbaijan is a multicultural country and that all peoples, including armenians, live in Azerbaijan in a comfortable way. Human rights defender once again highlighted that the Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied regions are Azerbaijan’s territory, and urged representatives and diplomats from 57 countries to respect the UN resolutions and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan: “I would like to comment on speech of Harutyun Grigoryan, who spoke before me and introduced himself as a representative of the so-called separatist regime of “Artsakh”. I would like to emphasize one more time that Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied regions are the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. And here I also appeal to the OSCE Secretariat not to register participation of persons representing such separatist regimes in the events. I urge everyone here to respect the UN resolutions, the basic principles of the OSCE, including the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan.” After the speech of the Azerbaijani human rights defender, the representative of the separatist regime Harutyun Grigoryan was removed from the conference hall.
PS. The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of OSCE participating States is Europe’s largest annual human rights and democracy conference. It is organized every year by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a platform for the 57 OSCE participating States, the OSCE Partners for Co-operation, OSCE structures, civil society, international organizations and other relevant actors to take stock of the implementation of OSCE human dimension commitments, discuss associated challenges, share good practices and make recommendations for further improvement.